Lieut.-Colonel William Frederick Oliver FAVIELL, D.S.O.
Commanded the 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment from 1927 to August 1931
Commanded the 9th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment, November 1915 to December 1919
Colonel Faviell’s thirty-one years’ Service was almost entirely with the Worcestershire Regiment, which he joined in South Africa in 1901 from the Militia of the East Surrey Regt.
He was with our 2nd Battalion in South Africa and India between 1904 and 1914. The outbreak of the Great War (1914-18) found him in the appointment of Adjutant to an Auxiliary Force Battalion in India, from which he was not released until early in 1915, when he came home and was posted to the newly-formed 9th Battalion of the Regiment. As Second-in-Command he proceeded with the 9th Battalion to Gallipoli and was with them at the historic landing at Suvla Bay in September, 1915.
In November, 1915, Colonel Faviell took over command of the 9th Battalion, which he held almost without a break until December, 1919, when the Battalion was disbanded. During this period he was at the evacuations of Suvla and Helles, in Mesopotamia, at the operations around Kut-el-Amara, the action of Hai Salient where he was severely wounded, and the operations on the Diala River in April and May 1917. From here Colonel Faviell proceeded to Persia in Command of the 39th Brigade ("Dunsterforce"), and was present at the actions around and the final evacuation of Baku on the Caspian during 1918 and 1919.
In December, 1919, he was appointed Deputy Provost Marshal at Constantinople, where he remained until 1923. For his services he was promoted Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel in 1921. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and the Serbian Order of the White Eagle in 1917, and was mentioned in Despatches three times.
On the disbandment of the 3rd and 4th Battalions in 1922 Colonel Faviell was transferred to the Queen’s Royal Regiment. He returned to his old Regiment four years later (1927) to command the 1st Battalion on receiving accelerated promotion. During his Command, the Battalion was stationed at Allahabad and Shanghai, and he brought the Battalion home to England in H.M.T. Nevasa in February 1931.
Lieut.-Colonel W. F. O. Faviell D.S.O.
Colonel Faviell’s experience of post-war training, gained during his time with the Queen’s at Aldershot, was invaluable to a Battalion, which had missed those important years of reorganisation by being sent to India immediately after the First World War. The material was there, and Colonel Faviell moulded it on modern lines. In addition, his knowledge of Eastern conditions proved of the greatest value to the 1st Battalion.
Himself a soccer and cricket player of considerable experience and repute, he took the greatest interest in the games of the Battalion, where his personal knowledge and the helpful advice that he was able to give were of much assistance. His keenness on sport, especially cricket and football, in both of which games he himself excelled—an Essex county cricketer and a fairly regular Corinthian player—was an invaluable asset. He played regularly for the Battalion cricket team, and was always the outstanding figure in the Officers v. Sergeants annual Soccer contest.
His unfailing cheerfulness and good temper, even under the most trying conditions, will be remembered by all ranks who served under him.
On the 25th August, 1931, Lieut.-Col. W. F. O. Faviell, D.S.O., left the 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment on completion of his four years of command.
On leaving the Regiment, Colonel Faviell was appointed Major and Resident Governor of the Tower of London in 1933, a post which he held for 12 years, including the strenuous years of the WW2 when "the Tower" was in the centre of the German London target area.
After his retirement Col. Faviell had lived at Bagshot for some years, but at the end of 1949 left with Mrs. Faviell for Kenya, where his son is living.
After only been in Kenya for a short time, Lieut.-Colonel W. F. O. Faviell, D.S.O., died at Nairobi, Kenya, in February, 1950. A year later in February 1951 his wife also died.
THE TOWER OF LONDON MEMORIAL TO THE LATE LIEUT.-COLONEL W. F. O. FAVIELL, D.S.O.
On Sunday 14th January 1951 a plaque was unveiled by the then Colonel of the Regiment, Lieut.-Gen. Sir Richard Gale, K.B.E., C.B., D.S.O., M.C., in the ancient chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula in H.M. Tower of London, to commemorate the memory of the late Lt.-Col. W. F. O. Faviell, D.S.O., The Worcestershire Regiment, Major and Resident Governor of the Tower of London 1933-1945.
Lieut.-Colonel Faviell was Resident Governor during the whole period of the war, in which the Tower was a target for German bombs, and there is no doubt that the strain of the period affected his health.
The unveiling ceremony took place during the ordinary morning service, which was attended by a large number of the Regiment (at the kind invitation of Colonel Carkeet James, Resident Governor). These included:
Lieut.-General Sir Richard and Lady Gale.
Brigadiers B. C. S. Clarke and H. U. Richards.
Colonels Jones, Johnson, Colonel and Mrs. Tuckey.
Lieut.-Colonels Bowring, Whalley, Parrott, Moss, Milner, Lieut.-Colonel and Mrs. Hargreaves, Lieut.-Colonel and Mrs. Ramsay. Captains Bradish, Lousada, Thomas, Sutton, Griffin.
Messrs. Clark, Jauncey, Hands, Greenway, Adams, Snoxhill, Pearson, Hamilton, Watson, Barnett, Kean, Biddle, Well,, Adkins, Bower, Clements, Davis.
Mesdames Hands, Dixon. Adams. Snoxhill, Hamilton, Watson, Griffin, Wells.
The Misses Milner, Wells, Barnett.
General Gale gave a short address for which he took as his text Psalm 3, verse 7, "I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about." In referring to the life of Colonel Faviell he said: "We have come here to-day to pay homage to one who was a great soldier—and a great gentleman. His was a life of service and of love. He loved soldiering; he loved the Army; he loved his work, whatever it was; he loved the Regiment; and he loved the Tower. His love was of true metal—it was completely selfless. It gave him confidence; it gave him faith ; it gave him strength; and above all it gave him courage."
General Gale continued: "Only a few days ago I found myself sitting as a member of a small body of experienced men, who were drawn together under the chairmanship of a great soldier, with the task of examining and reporting on the whole scheme of selection, examination and intake of cadets into the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. As one might expect, among many of the questions to which we were expected to find some answer were the following :
‘What is it that draws a young boy to the Army ?
‘Why do boys not want to come in the Regular Army ?
These two questions are to my mind quite natural and should be reasonably easy to answer. But another question left me dumbfounded, because it seemed to me to undermine the whole foundation on which an officer, or would-be officer, must inevitably base his life. It was: What can he expect to get out of the Army?'
Perhaps in the very asking of this question we can find some weakness in our present line of thought. Perhaps in this question, and what it suddenly and frighteningly confronts us with, we find an unexpected but nevertheless realistic challenge. Are we not tending to become selfish, egotistical and vain? Faviell never did."
Speaking of Colonel Faviell's life, General Gale said: "In the first World War he served with great gallantry commanding a battalion and earning the Distinguished Service Order.
We, many of us, knew him as a forthright and courageous commanding officer of the 1st Battalion between the two wars. Courageous in his outlook and courageous in his opinions. The war found him in His Majesty's Tower of London as Governor. He served here for thirteen years. On every single Alert he came up on top on duty, inspiring confidence and exuding leadership. In all, there were 1,227 Alerts and no less than fifteen high explosive bombs and three V bombs struck the Tower.
"It was these awful years that sapped his vitality. We all have great reason to honour him and to thank God for his great courage.
"Let us, then, be determined that we shall develop that great love of service, love of the Army and love of the Regiment, which was his. This, I think, should be easy. But what will not be so easy is to develop the courage and strength to live up to our love which he so nobly did."
After the service The Yeoman Warders kindly entertained those of the Regiment present in their club and a number of old acquaintances from 1938 days, when the 1st Battalion was stationed at the Tower, were renewed.
(Mrs. Faviell in Kenya—she was unable to be present at the unveiling ceremony owing to distance, but she did recieve details of the event just before she died a month later.